May 31, 2014

Strugglin' Along

I know I do not normally just write what I'm feeling and thinking on this blog, but I thought I would give it a try. As a Christian, I think one of the biggest hurdles to jump is learning to accept the struggles in my life. The entire world is struggling with war, hunger, injustice, sin, sickness and many other things. It's hard to watch others suffer and sometimes even harder to struggle through my own issues and hardships. 

Something I have learned quite recently, and hope to brighten your hearts with, is that struggle brings people together. It shapes and forms relationships, whether new or old. If you're struggling with something, tell someone! It's ok to admit you're not the "perfect" person people might think you are. NEWSFLASH! Everyone has things in their life that they wish weren't there, and it feels so much better to have someone else help you give that burden to God. 

I don't know the reason for suffering, especially nonsensical suffering such as sex trafficking and world hunger, but I do know that issues like those break barriers between so many different types of people. I think about my friend, Katherine, who is a missionary in Bulgaria trying to lead girls who have been prostituted and trafficked out of suffering, and I see so many people of all races and religions coming together to FIGHT! 

I wish suffering and personal struggles didn't happen, but in this sinful world we live in, God can use our struggles and suffering to bring about change for the better. He can bring broken relationships back together, He can heal the sick. And if all of this brings one person to Him, it's all worth it. At least I think so. 

Have a great weekend everyone! 


May 29, 2014

Joseph's Birthday Recipes

This month has flown by. So fast. It was just Easter, and now it's almost June! This past Friday was Joseph's 26th birthday! He is officially in his "late 20's". I'm so glad that it coincided with a holiday weekend, because we were able to make a lot of yummy food on Saturday since we had the extra time. I thought I would share a few of those recipes with you!

Crab Cakes with Spicy Remolaude

~Adapted from ~

Crab Cakes:
  •  2 T finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 T chopped parsley (I used dried) 
  • 1.5 T mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 C Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 lb. lump crabmeat, drained and shell pieces removed
  • 1 T olive oil 

  • Remoulade:
  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 T chopped shallots
  • 1 T capers, drained and chopped (if you're not a caper fan, you can leave these out. I just lessened how much I put in there) 
  • 2 tsp creole mustard (add some to taste) 
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt
To Prepare: 
1. Combine first 8 ingredients of crab cakes and mix well. Add Panko and crab meat. Refrigerate for 30 min (optional). 
2. Form patties about 1/3 cup each or for miniature patties 1/6 cup each. 
3. Set saute pan to medium heat, add olive oil 
4. Once heated. place 4 patties in oil and cook a/b 4 min on each side (or until golden brown)
5. To make remoulade sauce, combine all ingredients and stir. Serve with crab cakes! 

** When I made these, I made about 24 miniature crab cakes for the party with a double recipe. If you do them 1/3 cup each you end up with about 14 or 15 with a double recipe

~adapted from

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch thick strips (about 24 strips)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I recommend a honey BBQ or brown sugar BBQ)
1/2 sweet chili sauce (in asian section of grocery store)
1/2 cup yellow mustard
2 T white sugar
1 T brown sugar
24 bamboo skewers, soaked in water

To Prepare:
1. place chicken strips into baking dish (I used a 13x9 Pyrex)
2. Mix ingredients 2-7 to make sauce
3. Pour sauce over chicken, cover and marinate in refrigerator overnight (save 1/4 cup of sauce for basting on the grill if desired)
4. When ready to make, soak bamboo skewers for about 30 minutes while heating up your grill
5. take chicken out of refrigerator, and place each chicken strip on a skewer
6. grill for about 7-8 minutes on each side, or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit
7. Enjoy!

~adapted from Penzey's Spices magazine~

1 16oz can chickpeas
2 T tahini (sesame seed paste; can also sub peanut butter or almond butter with little difference)
1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 T olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1-3 chipotle peppers (get a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce from your ethnic food section at the grocery store and use 1-3 of the peppers according to your taste. I use 3, and I'm not a huge fan of food being super hot. And don't worry about the drops of adobo sauce that get into the mix when you drop the peppers in's delicious!)
1 tsp ground cumin

To Prepare: 
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If you need extra moisture, add a little more olive oil 
2. Enjoy with sliced red peppers (my favorite), pita chips, or other veggies

Sadly, I did not take any pictures during the party, so all of these are the photos from the original recipe websites. I am definitely not one of those recipe bloggers who takes pictures as he/she cooks/bakes. I can't stand it! It gets in the way of my fun. I hope some of you enjoy these recipes at your own parties. They were all first time tries for me, so I cannot wait to make them again! 


May 16, 2014

Favorite spots in Destin

Even though it's a day late, I did promise that I would post our favorite places to visit on the Gulf Coast. Here are a few of our favorites (the best!!)...

The Red Bar 

This is by far one of the best places to eat near Destin. It's actually located Greyton Beach, but from where we were staying in San Destin it was only a 15 minute drive. This place is famous for their short chalkboard menu and their amazing food! They are always changing specials depending on what fresh fish they have at the time. 

When we went, I got the blackened grouper. It came served on a grit cake (basically cheese grits pattied up and grilled in a good) with amazing sauce and served with a salad. Their salad is so simple, but the dressing is to die for. It is a tomato basil vinegarette, and you can click HERE for the recipe! Joseph got the shrimp and crawfish pasta, which was also delicious. 

If you decide to make this place one of the stops on your next beach trip, go early! They get crowded quick. The magic time of arrival is 6:00pm. If you get there a little before 6, you'll be seated right away, but by 6:30, forget it! The only other thing to note if you go to The Red Bar is that they take cash or check only for payment. They do have an ATM inside the restaurant, but who wants an ATM fee? 

the inside of the Red Bar

Baytowne Wharf 

This place is awesome! Whether you have small kids, big kids, or no kids there is always something to do at Baytowne. It's a housing community on the bayside of San Destin, but it has an entire little town full of restaurants, bars, arcades, shops, and more. We love to go there to just window shop  and walk around when we're done at the beach for the day. One of our favorite places to eat there is ACME Oyster House. My mom and Joseph love a good shrimp po'boy

Beautiful Baytowne Wharf at sunset. Since this picture was taken, they added a zip line that goes across the water! 

ACME Oyster House at Baytowne Wharf

Shrimper's Seafood Market

Joseph and I both LOVE fresh seafood. Thankfully we have access to it here in South Florida since we live near the coast. Whenever we go to the Gulf, we either make crab cakes or shrimp and grits, and Joseph buys raw oysters! This time we went, we got our seafood from Shrimper's. They have great seafood and the prices are very fair. Joseph got 15lbs of fresh raw oysters for $25. I don't like oysters, but I got some delicious spicy crab dip for myself. 

Raw Oysters

Inside of Shrimper's (sorry a/b the quality!)

I hope this helps some of you enjoy Destin a little bit more the next time you visit! Please comment below with any of your favorite places on the Gulf Coast! 


May 13, 2014

The Destin Flood of 2014

This time two weeks ago, Joseph and I were relaxing in a condo in Destin (yes, we live in South Florida, but we drove all the way up to Destin to go to the beach with family). My dad had a Rheumatology convention he had to go to for work (he is a pharmaceutical rep), so we jumped at the chance for a free place to stay at the beach and time with my parents! Little did we know what kind of weather would be awaiting as we arrived in northwest Florida...

When we first arrived on Tuesday, beach deserted, trying not to get stung by flying sand!

To the left of the pool area is water...

Needless to say, the beach was beautiful, but eerie. And yes that water in the picture above is not supposed to be there! The condo building next to ours had some flooding, and so did ours. Thankfully we were not on the first floor of the building, so we avoided having to move rooms. Tuesday afternoon was spent grocery shopping and going to dinner at The Red Bar with some friends who were in town. My parents arrived late Tuesday night, so we did not see them until Wednesday morning. 

It rained all day on Wednesday:(. Rachel, my good friend from college came in town and stayed with us for a night! Wednesday night we hung out at the condo working on puzzles, catching up, and eating shrimp and grits. Thursday morning was dreary, but in the afternoon we were able to go out on the beach and relax some, sans sun. Joseph enjoyed eating fresh oysters all week from Shrimpers Seafood Market (we love that place!). Sadly, we missed my sister, brother, and brother in law because they arrived for the weekend just after we left for home:(

The week ended with an all day drive back to Ft. Lauderdale on Friday, and a great weekend with girlfriends for me while Joseph attended the men's retreat at our church!

We had so much fun in Destin, and being there reminds me of childhood family vacations. At least every other year our family would go to the beach during the summer. Destin is one of my favorite places to go because it is so close to great restaurants and fun things to do. 


even though we're adults, we can still take silly pics

Rachel and I 


Have a great hump day tomorrow! I'll be back tomorrow with recommendations on eats and hangouts in Destin! 


May 7, 2014

Back to Blogland

After a little unintentional hiatus, I am back for awhile! I started my new nursing job near the end of January, which is really busy but going well, and haven't really even checked my blog since then. 

So what's going on with us? Well...

As of last Monday, Joseph finished his FIRST YEAR of DENTAL SCHOOL!!! (Pause for sigh of relief and applause...) I could not be more proud of him for finishing this first phase of grad school. Only 3 more years! He is off for the rest of this week, then starts back with summer classes on Monday. Although I wish he were off for longer now, he does get two other short breaks throughout the summer, which is nice for planning fun trips to see family and maybe a vacation somewhere in there :) 

About to see Aziz Ansari at Hard Rock Casino

My job is going really well! I started off not knowing what would happen (I'm working in the Operating Room) because all of my experience is in Open Heart Surgery, but I am getting to do a little of everything, which is fun and makes time go by pretty quick. I am weird, but I love the intricacies of surgery and the special attention to detail and care of the patient that is involved in it. Sure, the OR has drama, but if you put all that aside, it can be really fun!

Friends at work

We are enjoying Ft. Lauderdale this time of year. We are attending a church here (Rio Vista Community Church) and have found a lot of friends there. There are a lot of singles and couples in their 20s and 30s in this church, so one of the pastors started a ministry for us! We do all sorts of meetings and activities focusing on fellowship, learning and service. I have loved getting to know people through that group and through our community group that meets once a week. 

Community group girls at brunch after church

Sitting on the Reynolds' dock behind their house

Dexter being....Dexter 

Now that things are settling down for my schedule, I want to blog more often about certain things going on in our lives: 

1. Weekly/Bi-weekly update of life with pictures

2. What I'm currently knitting - updated as I start/finish new projects with pattern included (if it's ok to share)

3. Dental School updates/doing dental school through the military

4. Other projects/Product reviews/Personal stories/Recipes, etc.

What do y'all think? Any things that you guys want to hear about that I didn't list? 

Have a great hump day! 


Sunset from my rearview